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Mary Lou Retton recovering from health scare

CHARLESTON — Olympic gymnast and native West Virginian Mary Lou Retton, now home after a scary health battle, is publicly thanking people for their concern and support.

“I’m overwhelmed with all the love and support from the world as I fight. I am forever grateful to you all!” Retton wrote Monday on her social media Instagram page.

“I’m with family continuing to slowly recover and staying very positive as I know this recovery is a long and slow process.”

Retton’s daughters revealed Oct. 10 that she was in an intensive care unit with a rare form of pneumonia and “fighting for her life. She is not able to breathe on her own.”

Since then, the family — including daughters Skyla and Emma — has posted additional updates to indicate Retton’s condition is improving.

Retton’s post Monday asked for privacy, but said she would describe more about her health in the future.

“When the time is right, I will be sharing more information about my health issues and hope I can help others who may face the same battle as me,” she wrote.

Retton, 55, is a native of Fairmont, Marion County. She made history as the first American woman to win the all-around gold medal in Olympic gymnastics.

Her gold medal heroics in the individual all-around competition during the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles were punctuated with a perfect 10 on vault. She also took two silver medals and two bronze medals, making her the single biggest American winner.

Pride in Retton’s achievements continues to run deep in West Virginia. Mary Lou Retton Drive and Mary Lou Retton Youth Park each carry her name.

Her father, Ronnie Retton, was captain of the 1958-59 WVU basketball team that lost the national championship by one point. Ronnie Retton, who owned a company that repaired coal mining cable, died in 2021.

Retton moved back to Fairmont in 2009 when her then husband, Shannon Kelly, was hired as director of the Fairmont State Athletic Association, the fundraising unit of the university’s athletic department. The family moved back to Houston in 2012. They have four daughters, including McKenna, who is a retired collegiate gymnast. Retton and Kelly divorced in 2018.

Retton has been inducted into the International Gymnastics Hall of Fame.